Until around 4,000-10,000 years ago, the great wooly mammoths roamed the earth in great numbers. These remote cousins of the elephant died off for unknown reasons in a relatively short period of time. In artic regions such as Siberia, Northern Canada and parts of Alaska their tusks have lain for thousands of years, perfectly preserved in the ice and permafrost.
As ice packs and glaciers recede, the tusks are uncovered and collected for their pure high grade ivory, very much the same as elephant tusk ivory.
Unlike elephant ivory which is restricted and banned from importation into the United States, mammoth ivory is perfectly legal and has no trade restrictions as no animals are being harmed to harvest the tusks.
In reality, mammoth ivory is probably plentiful. Some experts estimate that there may be one million wooly mammoths encased in the ice in one region of Siberia alone. However, most of the mammoth tusks are found in some of the harshest and most inhabitable climates on earth and few will brave the elements and hardships of recovering the tusks and bringing them to the market. For that reason, mammoth ivory is rare and expensive on the consumer market.
I began using mammoth ivory for knife handles because of its beauty and it is easily carved and shaped. It is also a favorite medium for scrimshaw art which involves scribing fine lines in the ivory and filling them with ink.
Contrary to popular belief, mammoth ivory tusks are not fossilized. They are in fact just in the beginning stages of fossilization, a process which takes much longer than than the 4,000 to 20,000 years that the mammoth tusks have been buried and preserved in the ice. Depending on where the tusks were buried, the ivory absorbs minerals from the ice and/or ground. These minerals often create beautiful patterns and colors ranging from brown to green in the outer layers of the tusk which is known as "bark" ivory because it often resembles tree bark before it is sanded and polished. The interior of the tusks contain pure cream white ivory of the same look and consistency of elephant tusk ivory.
When I began using mammoth ivory for knife handles, I found that I often had small pieces left over. These pieces were too small for use in a knife handle but they were too rare, expensive and beautiful to throw away. A friend taught me how to make beautiful jewelry out from my ivory remnants. It is a time consuming multi-step process of carefully hand sanding the ivory with successively finer grits of sandpaper and then buffing it to a high polish. Power tools generally cannot be used because they generate too much heat which will cause the ivory to crack.
The result is beautiful and unique real ivory jewelry made from 4,000-20,000 year old wooly mammoth tusks. Every piece is handmade and one-of-a-kind.
SHIPPING NOTICE: The wooly mammoth obviously is not an endangered species as they have been extinct for at least 4000 years. There are NO restrictions in trade regarding mammoth tusk ivory. However, because it is ivory, even though it is legal ivory, it is often mistaken for restricted elephant or walrus ivory or otherwise seized by authorities who do not recognize the difference or tend to make up rules as they go. Because of this and the additional forms, licenses and paperwork required by different countries, I WILL NOT ship any mammoth ivory outside of the United States.